Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A crash-course for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Ages and Stages of Child Development

Understanding and guiding your grandchildren's behavior will be easier if you consider the various ages and stages of their development.  Although you have raised your own children, it is easy to forget what children are like. Children face different challenges at every stage of life. As their parent, you need to be able to put yourself in their shoes. Keep in mind, many times a child's behavior is a characteristic of his stage of development. Following are some age-related characteristics:
Infants: birth–12 months
·         Require physical touch like cuddling, stroking, and rocking for physical and emotional growth
·         Communicate through crying, smiling, cooing, and babbling
·         Explore by putting objects in mouth
·         Need stimulation through touch, sounds, and textures
·         Soothe themselves by sucking hands and fingers
Toddlers: 1–3 years old
·         Like to explore and are very curious
·         Seek independence
·         Are impatient
·         Do not understand sharing
·         Have a hard time expressing their emotions and, therefore, have temper tantrums
Preschoolers: 3–5 years old
·         Ask lots of questions
·         Enjoy pretend games and have imaginary friends
·         Are learning to be more cooperative with other children
·         Have extreme mood changes
·         Are proud of their ability to complete more tasks on their own
School-age children: 6–12 years old
·         Begin to question rules of parents
·         Enjoy being with their friends
·         Have an increased interest in out-of-school activities
·         Find it hard to deal with criticism and failure
·         May like to tease and criticize each other
Teens/Adolescents: 12–18 years
·         Experiencing puberty—hormonal and physical changes
·         Are overly self-conscious; self-critical
·         Are developing a sense of identity and discovering "Who am I?"
·         Are more idealistic and hopeful…
·         …yet, at the same time, can be anxious or sad
·         Beginning to spend more time with friends
·         Experience increased peer pressure to conform
·         Question authority and challenge rules, which creates conflict
Source: University of Florida Extension

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